The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 10, 2013

North Ridge students to travel to Atlanta for contest


DANVILLE — Two more North Ridge Middle School students recently found out they are headed to Atlanta to compete in the National History Bee Championship that will be held June 1.

Based on their score on an online regional qualifying history exam and their participation in last week’s Chicago regional finals competition, eighth-grader Guin Zillman and sixth-grader Sourin Paturi will join seventh-grader Peyton Blodgett, who placed sixth overall at the Chicago regional finals, at the National Championship in June.

All three are North Ridge MATS — Motivating Academically Talented Students — students.

“They ranked the kids nationally on the exam and then they looked at how they did at regionals,” said math teacher Lori Woods, who is the sponsor of the extracurricular program.

“I was definitely surprised,” Sourin said of qualifying for the National Championship. “I thought, ‘How did I make it? I barely got any points at regionals.’”

Guin said he, too, “didn’t expect to get very far” in the tough competition, let alone qualify for the national championship.

The National History Bee is an individual academic competition for elementary and middle school students that tests the knowledge of a wide range of historical topics.

Peyton, Guin and Sourin, as well as two other North Ridge students — eighth-grader Kendall Campbell and Sourin’s twin brother, Suvan Paturi — had been studying for the history competition since August.

After completing an online regional qualifying exam, 120 of the highest scorers in each of 35 regions across the United States attend and compete at the regional finals that are organized and staffed by the National History Bee.

The North Ridge students were among the top students from their region to participate in the regional finals April 1 at OA Thorp Scholastic Academy in Chicago. Woods accompanied the students to Chicago.

The regional finals in Chicago consisted of three preliminary rounds of head-to-head buzzer competition, followed by a final championship round.

Sourin said American history was the most challenging topic for him at the regional competition because “I read world history books all the time.”

Guin said he found the Eastern/Asian history questions to be the toughest.

The three North Ridge students are among the top 300 students from each of the regional finals across the United States who will advance to the national championship in Atlanta.

Woods said she is pleased the three students will be at the national championship together to give one another support.

“I think it will be a lot of fun,” Guin said of the Atlanta competition. “I’m not worried.”